HELENA, Mont. — The Latest on a federal appeals court ruling that Montana’s campaign contribution limits are constitutional (all times local):
Attorneys challenging Montana’s campaign contribution limits say they plan to appeal a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that found the limits were constitutional.
Attorney Jim Bopp of Indiana says he hasn’t decided if he’ll ask a full panel of the 9th Circuit to reconsider the case or if he’ll petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear it.
Bopp says Montana did not offer any evidence that campaign donations had caused lawmakers to vote for something they wouldn’t have, or vote against something they normally would have supported.
He said the two-judge majority was willing to limit the political speech rights of people and organizations based on the possibility that someone could do something wrong.
The Commissioner of Political Practices said he was putting the restored contribution limits into effect Monday.
A federal appeals court says the campaign contribution limits Montana voters enacted in 1994 are constitutional.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell, who said the limits violated political speech rights.
The appeals court said Monday that Montana’s limits on direct contributions are justified in trying to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption while still allowing both challengers and incumbents to raise enough money to run a campaign.
The decision notes would-be contributors are still free to volunteer their services, make donations to a candidate’s political party, send out direct mail or run other independent advertising.
The panel also said that while the donation limits seem low, they are quite reasonable compared to the cost of campaigning in Montana.